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Hong Kong needs to extend their landfills

Hong Kong needs to extend their landfills
Landfill extension funding proposals have been met with concerns

The Hong Kong government reiterates the need for landfills extension despite growing concerns of their environmental damage.

Amidst a pending funding application for a two-year study of the North East New Territories and West New Territories Landfills expansion from the Legislative Council, Hong Kong’s government emphasizes the need to extend their existing landfills.

Despite the region’s efforts to cut the landfilling rate from 52 percent to 20 percent in 10 years, and efforts on waste reduction through recycling food and solid waste, it is projected that landfills in the area will be full in six years.

Representatives of the Hong Kong government have been vigilant in expressing the need for extending landfills.

Chief Executive CY Leung pointed out that landfills are needed by the whole community, as the region is small but is densely populated. Chief Secretary Carrie Lam stressed that landfills are a way out for the waste produced by seven million people, adding that the Government has no plans in withdrawing their funding application for the landfills expansion study.

“We are seeking to expand the landfills first because they will be full in a few years’ time, and without other new facilities, Hong Kong’s waste will have nowhere to go,” Under Secretary for the Environment Christine Loh said during a radio program.

The Environment Bureau has released a statement regarding landfills extension, saying that “landfills are still an indispensable part in the end-of-pipe waste treatment in Kong Kong,” noting that there is a genuine need for landfills extension.

However, the funding being sought has been met with concerns by the legislators and the local community. Different concerns have been brought up, such as odor issues due to the extension’s proximity to residential areas; cutting down old and valuable trees that are over 100 years old; and landfill discharge into the environment.

Several issues of this nature have come up during the past week, such as that of the reported landfill discharge which has been checked thoroughly, concluding that there are no landfill leaks into the sewage; reports of cutting down a 400 year old tree which was disproved through an investigation; and improvement measures to reduce the impacts of landfills near residential areas.

“We understand the concerns of the legislators and the local community on the landfills extension. We will continue to communicate closely with the legislators and the local community and respond to their requests as far as possible,” the Environment Bureau said.

“The Government will also step up efforts in waste reduction at source,” the ENB added. – L. Polintan

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